Florists who cultivate the Polyanthus and Auricula have long been aware of the two kinds of flowers, and they call the plants which display the globular stigma at the mouth of the corolla, "pin-headed" or "pin-eyed," and those which display the anthers, "thrum-eyed." (1/2. In Johnson's Dictionary, "thrum" is said to be the ends of weavers' threads; and I suppose that some weaver who cultivated the Polyanthus invented this name, from being struck with some degree of resemblance between the cluster of anthers in the mouth of the corolla and the ends of his threads.) I will designate the two forms as the long-styled and short-styled.

The pistil in the long-styled form is almost exactly twice as long as that of the short-styled. The stigma stands in the mouth of the corolla or projects just above it, and is thus externally visible. It stands high above the anthers, which are situated halfway down the tube and cannot be easily seen. In the short-styled form the anthers are attached near the mouth of the tube, and therefore stand above the stigma, which is seated in about the middle of the tubular corolla. The corolla itself is of a different shape in the two forms; the throat or expanded portion above the attachment of the anthers being much longer in the long-styled than in the short-styled form. Village children notice this difference, as they can best make necklaces by threading and slipping the corollas of the long-styled flowers into one another. But there are much more important differences. The stigma in the long-styled form is globular; in the short-styled it is depressed on the summit, so that the longitudinal axis of the former is sometimes nearly double that of the latter. Although somewhat variable in shape, one difference is persistent, namely, in roughness: in some specimens carefully compared, the papillae which render the stigma rough were in the long- styled form from twice to thrice as long as in the short-styled. The anthers do not differ in size in the two forms, which I mention because this is the case with some heterostyled plants. The most remarkable difference is in the pollen- grains. I measured with the micrometer many specimens, both dry and wet, taken from plants growing in different situations, and always found a palpable difference. The grains distended with water from the short-styled flowers were about .038 millimetres (10 to 11/7000 of an inch) in diameter, whilst those from the long-styled were about .0254 millimetres (7/7000 of an inch), which is in the ratio of 100 to 67. The pollen-grains therefore from the longer stamens of the short-styled form are plainly larger than those from the shorter stamens of the long-styled. When examined dry, the smaller grains are seen under a low power to be more transparent than the larger grains, and apparently in a greater degree than can be accounted for by their less diameter. There is also a difference in shape, the grains from the short-styled plants being nearly spherical, those from the long-styled being oblong with the angles rounded; this difference disappears when the grains are distended with water. The long-styled plants generally tend to flower a little before the short-styled: for instance, I had twelve plants of each form growing in separate pots and treated in every respect alike; and at the time when only a single short-styled plant was in flower, seven of the long-styled had expanded their flowers.

We shall, also, presently see that the short-styled plants produce more seed than the long-styled. It is remarkable, according to Professor Oliver, that the ovules in the unexpanded and unimpregnated flowers of the latter are considerably larger than those of the short-styled flowers (1/3. 'Natural History Review' July 1862 page 237.); and this I suppose is connected with the long-styled flowers producing fewer seeds, so that the ovules have more space and nourishment for rapid development.

To sum up the differences:--The long-styled plants have a much longer pistil, with a globular and much rougher stigma, standing high above the anthers.

The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species Page 09

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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